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What’s the difference between iOS and Android app development?

Published August 15, 2014

The difference between iOS and Android app development is the difference between apples and bananas. They fall into the same category (mobile operating systems, or fruits), but that’s where most of the similarities end. Here are six differences:

  1. iOS and Android are separate mobile operating systems the same way that Mac OSX and Windows are separating desktop operating systems.
  2. They involve different programming languages. iOS uses Objective-C. Android uses Java.
  3. Android is to some extent “open source.” iOS is not. You may have noticed that there are quite a few different Android app stores not associated with Google and independent of the Google Play store. But Apple controls all of the App Stores for 100+ countries.
  4. Only three devices manufactured by Apple run iOS: iPads, iPods, and iPhones. Hundreds of devices from dozens of companies run Android.
  5. An iOS developer license from Apple will set you back $99 a year, but Google simply charges a one-time fee of $25.
  6. To develop for iOS, you’ll need a Mac. To develop for Android, you’ll be better off with a PC.

Google designed Android to be a huge sandbox. They have made it easy for developers to access the Android and work with it. You can publish your Android apps without waiting for anyone to review them. The Apple sandbox is rather small and controlled by comparison. Waiting for the Apple review team to approve or reject your app can take anywhere from 5-14 business days.

Typically, the two companies don’t play well together. After all, they’re competitors.

But Apportable is doing some interesting stuff with Objective-C for Android. You can port over your Objective-C source codes to Android, and save up to 90% on redevelopment costs in the process.


Did I miss some of the distinguishing characteristics? Knock me upside the head in the Comments section below.


Comments and Support:


    Austin – yes you did! :)
    App store optimization is completely different between the two platforms. What you do for ASO in the Apple app space can get you banned on Google. Kind of important! :)


      @Markus Haha! Right you are: ASO for the App Store and Google Play are quite different.

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